Crossings: Words and Music — Who’s Who

Rika Lesser, poet, translator, essayist, and educator, is the author most recently of Questions of Love: New & Selected Poems and a revised edition of Etruscan Things. She has translated fifteen collections of poetry or fiction for readers of all ages, primarily from Swedish and German, including works by Göran Sonnevi, Gunnar Ekelöf, and Claes Andersson from Swedish, and Rafik Schami, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Hermann Hesse from German as well as Kiki Dimoula from Greek, her first translation in that language. Her honors include the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, an Ingram- Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry, The Landon Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Commission fellowship, two NEA Translation Grants (2001 and 2013), and two Translation Prizes from the Swedish Academy.

Kiki Dimoula is a member of the Academy of Athens. She has been awarded the Greek State Prize twice, the Grand State Prize, the Ouranis Prize, and the Aristeion of Letters (given by the Academy of Athens), as well as the European Prize for Literature. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Danish, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and many other languages. Rika Lesser’s translation with Cecile Inglessis Margellos of The Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems comes out as a Margellos World Republic of Letters Book from Yale University Press on November 13, 2012.


Aaron Jay Kernis, winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize, has taught composition at the Yale School of Music since 2003. Among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation, his music is featured prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide and he has been commissioned by many of America‘s foremost performing artists. He was invited to join the American Academy of Arts and Letters as a member in 2011 and is the most recent winner of the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University.

Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (1876-1944) was an Italian poet and the founder of the Futurist movement.  He is best known as the author of the Futurist Manifesto (1909), which was published in French on the front page of the most prestigious French daily newspaper, Le Figaro. Marinetti believed that violence was a means of producing an aesthetic effect, as well as inherent to life itself. Consequently, Futurism had both anarchist and Fascist elements.First published in 1932, The Futurist Cookbook is a collection of essays, exhortations, scenarios, and recipes for food of the future which related the artistic movement of Futurism to food and challenged the conventions of nineteenth-century Italian fare.

Asta Hansen has worked in film, television and theatre on both coasts and abroad. Recent highlights are the role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, John Jesurun’s Stopped Bridge of Dreams at La Mama and in his webisode Shadowland, and lead role in Spotless which was selected for the Poppy Jasper Film Festival in Northern California.

Violinist Nurit Pacht has enjoyed a career as a chamber musician performing in festivals worldwide. As a recitalist and in concerto appearances, she has performed in venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Moscow’s Great Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, The People’s Hall of China in Beijing and, at the invitation of Christoph Eschenbach, at Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series. Chosen by director Robert Wilson to be the featured musician in his multi-media piece “Relative Light” featuring solo violin works by John Cage and J.S. Bach, Ms. Pacht is equally at home in both standard and contemporary repertoire. Her passion for new music has culminated in world premiers and commissions from composers including Michael Hersch, Noam Sheriff and Annie Gosfield. She has performed in duo recitals with Philip Glass playing the composer’s works for violin and piano.

Cellist David Bakamjian performs regularly as a recitalist, chamber player, and recording artist. He  has soloed with numerous orchestras on both baroque and modern cello, and has served as principal cellist for many others. With the Casa Verde Trio, Mr. Bakamjian completed six critically acclaimed national tours as well as a month-long tour of China. On baroque cello, he performs with Brooklyn Baroque, the American Classical Orchestra, Early Music New York, Concert Royal, and the Long Island Baroque Ensemble. He co-wrote and is featured in “Evocations of Armenia,” a program for solo cello and spoken word that was specially conceived for the MET museum. His CD of Boismortier cello sonatas was released last year.

Pianist Evelyne Luest is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician and has performed and toured in Europe, South America, Asia and the USA. She has won several competitions including the Artists International Competition in New York as soloist as well as many awards with her ensemble, Contrasts Quartet. Ms. Luest has performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy and on the St. Paul Sunday National Radio Show. Her many collaborations include such noted musicians as cellist Truls Mork and flutist Emmanuel Pahud. Recent performances include festivals and concert venues in Norway, France, Japan, Spain, Albuquerque, and Detroit. Her long list of premieres includes compositions by Ned Rorem, Joan Tower and Aaron Jay Kernis. Ms. Luest studied with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, where she received an M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance.

Event Announcement: Crossings–Words and Music, Friday, November 2nd at 7:30 pm

Sunday Best Reading Series in partnership with Sunday Concerts in the Lounge present Crossings: an Evening of Words and Music. On November 2nd at 7:30 in The Lounge @ HVG, Rika Lesser, poet, will read from her translation of The Brazen Plagiarist by Kiki Dimoula. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis‘s “The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine,” based on Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook, will be performed by Asta Hansen Nelson, narration; Evelyne Luest, piano; Nurit Pacht, violin; and David Bekamjian, cello.  The suggestion donation of $10 includes a reception with free snacks and a cash bar.

The Lounge is at Pinehurst Avenue and 183rd St., in Northern Manhattan. Take the A train to 181st Street.

Event Announcement: Depends What You Mean by Haunted, October 14, at 4PM

Please join the Sunday Best Reading Series on Sunday, October 14, for  “Depends What You Mean by Haunted,” * an afternoon of prose readings featuring writers Julia Rust, David Surface, and Gay Partington Terry.  As always, the event will take place at 4PM in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens (Pinehurst Avenue at West 183rd Street), and your suggested contribution of $7 will cover admission to the reading as well as drinks and snacks at the reception following the event, during which you will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with the writers.

Please read on for bios of the writers who will be sharing their work on October 14.

Writer Julia Rust

Julia Rust is a writer, actor and graphic designer living in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Her short fiction can be found in print and in online literary journals, including The Cortland Review, The Blue Penny Quarterly, and Many Mountains Moving, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has co-authored a collection of prose collaborations with David Surface called The Secret Life of Gods.

Writer David Surface

David Surface’s stories and essays have been published in North American Review, Fiction, DoubleTake, Crazyhorse, Cortland Review, Taitlin’s Tower, Supernatural Tales, and Shadows and Tall Trees. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Fiction, was the recipient of a 2008 Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and was one of six artists statewide nominated for the NYFA Prize. He is the founder and director of the Veterans Writing Workshop that runs free programs for U.S. veterans in the NYC area and is also founder of the FEGS Writing Project that provides workshops for adults living with mental illness and substance abuse.

Writer Gay Partington Terry

Gay Partington Terry is a Manx insomniac who grew up in northern Appalachia and now lives in Harlem. As a teenager, she assisted her father in his magic act and since then has worked as a waitress, factory worker, and welfare worker; catalogued tribal arts for Sotheby’s; volunteered in Margaret Mead’s office before she died; and taught tai chi and yoga. She has had poetry and short stories published in e-zines, fantasy magazines, and anthologies and wrote screenplays for “The Toxic Avenger” II and III. She has four grandchildren and is watched over by the ghost of a loyal Australian Shepherd. At heart, she thinks of herself as a slacker who enjoys teaching her grandkids “weird stuff.”

*“Depends what you mean by haunted” is a line from “The Professor of History,” by David Surface

Event Recap: Festival of the Word

Last March, the Sunday Best Reading Series hosted a day-long Festival of the Word at Hudson View Gardens in Northern Manhattan.  The program kicked off at 2PM with a children’s theater workshop focusing on social justice and stories about living in Washington Heights presented by Mino Lora and Veronica Liu for the People’s Theatre Project.  Proceeds from the gate admission for Festival of the Word went to the Voices program of the People’s Theatre Project, an after-school project for local teens aged 13 through 16.

Mino Lora, Director of the People’s Theatre Project.

Following the workshop, audience members gathered in The Lounge to hear readings by three literary artists who received 2012 NoMAA Individual Artist Grants to support their work.

Poet Lola Koundakjian, curator and producer of the Armenian Poetry Project.

Lola Koundakjian read poems from her newly published collection The Accidental Observer and also shared new work with audience members.  Lola received a 2011 NoMAA grant to help fund The Accidental Observer and received her second consecutive NoMAA grant this year. As curator and producer of the Armenian Poetry Project, Lola is not only busy with her own work but also dedicates herself to promoting the work of Armenian poets and exposing it to new and eager readers.

Veronica Liu, founder of Word Up Community Bookshop.

Veronica Liu, a local legend for her stewardship of both Washington Heights Free Radio and Word Up Community Bookshop,  talked to audience members about the literary journal for which she received funding from NoMAA this year. She shared her hopes the journal will become a community document for Northern Manhattan. She also revealed that the idea for  Word Up emerged at last year’s NoMAA grantee reading during the after-reception as she chatted with NoMAA director Sandra Garcia Betancourt.  The piece Veronica read was an ironic self-history that was at once a postmodern detective story and a reflection on the narcissism of youth; using a variety of texts and online archives to reconstruct the past, the narrator, on the verge of turning thirty, tried to figure out exactly what she did on her birthdays during her twenties.

Spanish writer Paquita Suarez-Coalla writes stories in her native language Asturian as well as in English. Her stories in Asturian reflect the interests and experiences of the Asturian people, who comprise one of Spain’s rich cultural and linguistic minorities.  Paquita read one of her stories which has been translated from her native Asturian into English as well as a story in Spanish about discrimination her sister experienced in school in the 1970s.

Spanish/Asturian writer Paquita Suarez-Coalla.

As always, the audio for this event has been archived at the Sunday Best Reading Series program page on the WHFR website for those who were unable to attend the event or who simply want to listen to it again in its entirety. Additional photos from this event are available on the Sunday Best Reading Series Flickr page.

Remember the Sunday Best Reading Series returns on Sunday, September 9 with readings by poets published by the celebrated Irish press, Salman Poetry.

Event Announcement: A Celebration of Ireland’s Salmon Press, September 9 at 4PM

The Sunday Best Reading Series kicks off its 2012-2013 season on September 9 with “A Celebration of Ireland’s Salmon Press.”  This event will showcase the work of four poets published by Salmon Poetry founded in 1981 as an alternate voice in Irish literature. (The name “Salmon” derives from the Salmon of Knowledge in Celtic mythology.)  Patricia Brody, Philip Fried, Bertha Rogers, and Estha Weiner will read selections from books already published by or forthcoming from  Salmon.

As always, the afternoon’s program will begin at 4PM and takes place in the Hudson View Lounge. A suggested contribution of $7 covers admission to the reading as well as to food and drinks at the after-reception where audience members can meet and mingle with the writers.  However, due to ongoing renovation in The Lounge, the event will take place in the foyer area of the Lounge rather than the auditorium proper.  Those who have attended events in The Lounge know that the foyer is considerably smaller than the main area of The Lounge.  As a result, seating will be limited, and advance reservations will be required for this event. Please make your reservations by email to

Please read on to learn more about the four poets who will be sharing their work with us on September 9.

Poet Patricia Brody.

Patricia Brody’s first poetry collection, American Desire, was selected  by Finishing Line Books for a 2009 New Women’s Voices Award. Her second collection, Dangerous to Know, is due out from Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2012. Her work has appeared in BigCityLit, Western Humanities Review,  Barrow Street, The Paris Review, and on Poetry Daily. Poems also appear in the anthology Chance of a Ghost (co-edited by Philip Miller) and in Psychoanalytic Perspectives and International Journal of Feminist Politics. Brody works as a family therapist in NYC and teaches “Seeking Your Voice: a Poetry Workshop”  at Barnard College Center for Women. She taught English comp and American Literature for many years at Boricua College in Harlem. Her awards include two Pushcart nominations; English Speaking Union of New York, 1st Prize for a poem; and two Academy of American Poets prizes.

Poet Philip Fried.

Philip Fried has published five books of poetry: Mutual Trespasses (Ion, 1988), Quantum Genesis (Zohar, 1997), Big Men Speaking to Little Men (Salmon, 2006), Cohort (Salmon, 2009),and Early/Late: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, 2011).He is also the founding editor of The Manhattan Review, an international poetry journal.

Poet Bertha Rogers.

Bertha Rogers’s poems appear in journals and anthologies, on Poetry Daily ( and Verse Daily (, and in her collections, Heart Turned Back (Salmon, 2010), The Fourth Beast (Snark Press, 2004), A House of Corners (Three Conditions Press, Maryland Poetry Review Chapbook Contest Winner, 2000), and Sleeper, You Wake (Mellen, NY 1991). Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2000 (Birch Brook Press), and her translation of the riddle‑poems from the Anglo‑Saxon Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, is forthcoming from Birch Brook. She has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and Hawthornden International Writers Retreat.  Her poem suite Three for Summer’s End  was set to music by Jamie Keesecker for the MacDowell/Monadnock “Music for the Mountain” series and performed in 2010.

Poet Estha Weiner.

Estha Weiner is co-editor and contributor to Blues For Bill: A Tribute To William Matthews (Akron Poetry Series, 2005)and author of The Mistress Manuscript (Book Works, 2009) and Transfiguration Begins At Home (Tiger Bark Press, 2009). In The Weather of The World  is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2013. Her magazine publications include The New Republic and  Barrow Street.  Nominated for a Pushcart Prize,  she was the winner of a Paterson Poetry Prize, and a Visiting Scholar at The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford, England. Estha is founding director of  NY Alumnae Writers Nights  Series for Sarah Lawrence College, and serves on the Advisory Board of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley Writers Center. In her previous life, she was an actor and worked for BBC radio.

Event Announcement: Crossing the Atlantic, April 15, 2012 at 4PM


Crossing the Atlantic

Poets British and American


Please join the Sunday Best Reading Series on Sunday, April 15, for an afternoon of poetry by literary artists from both sides of the pond. Britain-based poets Anne-Marie Fyfe and Cheryl Moskowitz will join Washington Heights’ own Chris Hansen-Nelson in offering Sunday Best audience members with a program of verse both eclectic and entertaining. As usual, the reading will take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens at 4PM. A suggested donation of $7 covers the performance as well as drinks and snacks at the reception after the event where audience members will have a chance to meet and mingle with the poets.

Read on for more information about the writers who will be appearing at Sunday Best on April 15.


Poet Anne-Marie Fyfe

Anne-Marie Fyfe (born in Cushendall, County Antrim) has written four collections of poetry including, most recently, Understudies: New and Selected Poems (Seren Books, 2010). She has won the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Prize, has run Coffee-House Poetry’s readings and workshops at London’s Troubadour since 1997, organizes the annual Hewitt Spring Festival in the Glens of Antrim, and was chair of the Poetry Society from 2007 to 2010.


Chris Hansen-Nelson received his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College where he had the good fortune to study with Dennis Nurkse, Tom Lux, Stephen Dobyns and others. More recently, he has worked with Rachel Simon and Jean Valentine. He is currently working with Heather McHugh. His work has appeared in, among other journals: The Literary Gazette and The Gallatin Review. He is a longtime resident of Washington Heights.


Poet Cheryl Moskowitz

Cheryl Moskowitz was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to the UK at the age of eleven. She studied psychology at Sussex University and has worked as an actor, performance poet, therapist, and writer. She has won the Bridport Prize Poetry Competition (2010), the Troubadour International Poetry Prize (2010), and the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine (2011). She is the author of a newly published poetry collection, The Girl Is Smiling; the novel Wyoming Trail (1998); and a collection of poetry for children, Can It Be About Me (2012).


                   Event Announcement:                   Delicious New Fiction, February 5 at 4PM

January has brought snow and biting cold to New York City. As winter settles in for the long haul, keep yourself warm by indulging your literary appetite. Please join the Sunday Best Reading Series on Sunday, February 5, for a hearty meal of delicious new fiction. Scheduled readers include prose writers Jonathan Baumbach, Janice Eidus, and Douglas Light. As always, the reading will take place at 4PM in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 116 Pinehurst Avenue (at West 183rd Street). Suggested admission is $7 and covers the reading itself, as well as the after-reception, where audience members can enjoy free refreshments and mingle with the writers.  Please read on for more information about the writers who will be reading their work on February 5.



Jonathan Baumbach

“In all of Jonathan Baumbach’s fiction, there is a wonderful balance of ease and authority, subtlety and surprise, wisdom and playfulness…one of my favorite writers.” —Robert Coover

Jonathan Baumbach is the author of fourteen books of fiction, including Dreams of Molly; YOU; On The Way To My Father’s Funeral: New and Selected Stories; B, a novel; D-Tours; Separate Hours; Chez Charlotte and Emily; The Life and Times of Major Fiction; Reruns; Babble and A Man to Conjure With. His stories have appeared in Esquire, American Review, Tri Quarterly, Partisan Review, Zoetrope, Antaeus, Iowa Review, Open City and Boulevard magazines. His fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Byrnes Book of Great Pool Stories, All Our Secrets Are the Same, O.Henry Prize Stories, Full Court: a Literary Anthology of Basketball, The Best of TriQuarterly, and On The Couch: Great American Stories about Therapy. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. In 1973 (with Peter Spielberg) he invented the Fiction Collective, the first fiction writers cooperative in America, reinvented in 1988 as FC2. He is the author of The Landscape of Nightmare: Studies in Contemporary American Fiction, has been the Film Critic for Partisan Review and is the two time Chairman of the National Society of Film Critics.



Janice Eidus

“Nobody writes about Jewish cultural life quite as funnily and piercingly as Janice Eidus”  —Mindy Lewis, editor, Dirt: The Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House

Novelist, short story writer, and essayist Janice Eidus has twice won the O. Henry Prize for her short stories, as well as a Pushcart Prize, a Redbook Prize, and numerous other awards. Her 2008 novel, The War of the Rosens, won an Independent Publishers Award in Religion and was nominated for the Sophie Brody Medal, an award for the most distinguished contribution to Jewish Literature for Adults. Janice’s other books include the short story collections The Celibacy Club and Vito Loves Geraldine and the novels Urban Bliss and Faithful Rebecca. Her work appears in such magazines as Tikkun and Jewish Currents and such anthologies as Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction; On Longing and Belonging; The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories; Neurotica: Jewish Writers on Sex; and Scribblers on the Roof: Contemporary Jewish Fiction. She’s the Fiction Editor at Shaking, the print and online journal, and has been a guest speaker and teacher throughout the U.S., Europe, and Central America.



Douglas Light

“Gems of stories, slyly, skillfully interrelated and captivating in their economy, truth, and acid wisdomFrederic Tuten, author of Tintin in the New World

Douglas Lights new story collection, Girls in Trouble, won the 2010 AWP Grace Paley Prize. His first novel, East Fifth Bliss, won the ‘Popular Fiction’ section of the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association and was made into a film starring Michael C. Hall, Peter Fonda, and Lucy Liu. Light co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Knowles. Light’s second novel, Where Night Stops, received a 2010 NoMAA Grant. His fiction has won an O. Henry Prize and has appeared in the 2003 Best American Nonrequired Reading anthology and in Narrative, Guernica, Alaska Quarterly Review, Failbetter, and other magazines. He was a finalist for the 2002 James Jones First Novel Fellowship and for the 2010 Indiana Emerging Author Award.

Reading Announcement: Cake Mix Remix

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to reschedule “Cake Mix,” a children’s theatre and writing workshop with Mino Lora, which was originally to take place in January.  This event will now take place on March 4, 2012.  The event will become a double-header (Festival of The Word) with readings by the 2012 NoMAA literary grantees following the “Cake Mix” workshop.

The next event in the reading series is now on February 5, 2012—a program of delicious new fiction by Janice Eidus, Douglas Light, and Jonathan Baumbach.

You will receive the usual e-notices and reminders.  Meanwhile, so you can mark your calendars, here again are those dates:

February 5th:  New Fiction (Janice Eidus, Douglas Light, Jonathan Baumbach). The Lounge @ HVG, 4:00 pm.  $7 for readings and reception after.

March 4th: Festival of The Word in Northern Manhattan: a theatre/writing working for children by Mino Lora of the People’s Theatre Project followed by a reading by the 2012 literary grantees of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance.  The Lounge @HVG,  exact time(s) TBD. Adults $7/children free.

Event Announcement: Openings to Light, December 4, 2011 at 4PM



Three Poets, Three Journeys

The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens

Please join the Sunday Best Reading Series for an afternoon of poetry on Sunday, December 4 at 4PM. As always, the reading takes place at The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 116 Pinehurst Avenue (at West 183rd Street).  A contribution of $7 covers the event itself, an after-reception to meet the writers, and free drinks and snacks.



“Wistful and full of wonder. Part freak show, part searing insight

―Anne Yale, Voice in the Wilderness: Musings on Writing and Poem-Craft

Poet Amy Holman

Amy Holman writes poetry, fiction, and essays and advises writers on where to publish their work. She is the author of Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010); the prize-winning chapbook Wait For Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005); and An Insider’s Guide to Creative Writing Programs (Prentice Hall, 2006). She wrote the popular column “Amy Holman’s Tough Love Guide to Publishing” for Poets & Writers Magazine and was a recent guest blogger at The Best American Poetry, which anthologized a poem of hers in 1999. Her essays have appeared in the anthologies The Subway Chronicles, Making the Perfect Pitch, The Practical Writer, and Knitting Through It, and in the online journal Connotation Press. She blogs semi-regularly at We Who Are About To Die and Lending Whale.



“True-story poems about growing up in America . . . delivered in plain, sure-footed language. Read a few . . . lines and you’ll find yourself helplessly engaged.”

―Billy Collins, poet

Poet Christopher Locke

Christopher Locke has received over two dozen awards for his poetry including grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain). His fifth collection of poetry, End of American Magic, (Salmon Poetry, 2010) was a Top Ten Book of the Year, as chosen by Maine Publishers & Writers Alliance, and was nominated for the Forward Prize (U.K.). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, Adbusters, Southwest Review, 32 Poems, Connecticut Review, Alimentum, West Branch, Exquisite Corpse, Atlanta Review The Chattahoochee Review, The Sun, Slipstream, Agenda (U.K.), and twice on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” His four chapbooks of poetry are The Temple of Many Hands (DeadDrunkDublin Press, 2010); Possessed (Main Street Rag, Editor’s Choice Award, 2005); Slipping Under Diamond Light (Clamp Down Press, 2002); and How To Burn (Adastra Press, 1995).



“The poems reverberate with the feeling that comes from deep observation and deep caring.…precious in the fullest sense…shining with their own light.”
Baron Wormser, former Poet Laureate of Maine

Poet Sharon White

Sharon White’s Vanished Gardens: Finding Nature in Philadelphia won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. She is also the author of a collection of poetry, Bone House. Eve & Her Apple, a new book of poetry, was published in May by Harbor Mountain Press. Her memoir, Field Notes, A Geography of Mourning, received the Julia Ward Howe Prize, Honorable Mention, from the Boston Authors Club. Other awards include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, the Leeway Foundation Award for Achievement, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship, the Calvino Award for her fiction, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in Salt Hill Journal, Isotope, House Beautiful, Appalachia, Kalliope and North American Review. She teaches writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, and she blogs at she blogs at Gardens and the City | Thoughts on gardens, urban nature and wilderness.

Event Recap: New Books and Persistent Dreams

The Persistence of Dreams

May 1, 2011

The Sunday Best Reading Series closed its Winter/Spring 2011 season on May 1 with “The Persistence of Dreams,” a celebration of new books and literary dreams.  Readers included Northern Manhattan residents Elisabeth Frost and Carol Wallace, as well as the highly regarded poet Elaine Terranova.  As emcee Patricia Eakins noted, it has become a spring  tradition for the Sunday Best Reading Series to showcase new books and acknowledge “intrepid publishers of literary books.”  All three writers featured in the afternoon’s program read recently published work.  If you missed the reading, you can listen to the entire event on the Sunday Best Reading Series Program page at Washington Heights Free Radio (

Elisabeth Frost

Elisabeth Frost kicked off “The Persistence of Dreams,” reading poetry and prose poems from All of Us, her first full-length poetry collection, published by White Pine Press as part of its Marie Alexander series. Frost read poems inspired by the sayings enclosed in fortune cookies, as well as prose poetry that exposed manipulative family dynamics and touched upon themes related illness and caretaking.  Her poetry was moving and thought-provoking but also included splashes of humor in pieces that recalled a discussion of sexual fetishes at an artist’s colony and a dream in which the poet tells Derek Bok, president of Harvard University, exactly what she thinks of him.

Elaine Terranova

Elaine Terranova traveled from Philadelphia to participate in The Persistence of Dreams.  She read work from her newly published chapbook Elegiac: Footnotes to Rilke’s Duino Elegies, issued by Cervena Barva Press.  These poems place Terranova in direct conversation and dialogue with Rilke and have been described by author Kevin Prufer as “beautiful, impressionistic poems distinguished especially for their shifting, subtle intelligence and their emotional force.”

Carol Wallace

In her introductory remarks, Carol Wallace spoke directly to the afternoon’s theme of dreams, declaring: “It is a persistent dream that puts me in front of you today.”  Wallace recalled a childhood surrounded by typewriters with a father who works as a sports writer.  After writing numerous “ephemeral” books, Wallace returned to school in 2003 to earn a Master’s degree in art history.  Her studies and her research at Columbia provided the inspiration and material for Leaving Van Gogh, her first novel which is receiving acclaim from reviewers and readers alike. Told from the point of view of Van Gogh’s doctor, Paul Gachet, Leaving Van Gogh imagines Gachet’s complicated relationship with his troubled but transcendently gifted patient.

Carol Wallace, Elaine Terranova, and Patricia Eakins at the after-reception

Following the readings, the writers and audience members mingled, enjoying wines provided by Vines on Pine along with other refreshments. All involved with the Sunday Best Reading Series looked forward to the summer break, which, like all breaks, was refreshing but brief.

Elisabeth Frost talks with an audience member at the after-reception

The Sunday Best Reading Series thanks everyone who made the Winter/Spring 2011 season a success, including the performers and the audience members.  And a special thank you to those who staff the Sunday Best events and work behind the scenes: the success of each event rests upon the efforts and dedication of these trustworthy volunteers.

Sound technician Sig Rosen and event manager Peter Martin

A special shout-out to volunteer Joan Greenbaum who staffed the front desk and provided support for “The Persistence of Dreams” despite recent surgery which required her to use wheelchair and crutches.  That’s dedication!

Joan Greenbaum with fellow volunteers Gordon Gilbert and Peter Martin

The series returns on Sunday, September 11 with a program of memoir.  We hope you will join us for our first program of the 2011-2012 season.

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